Donald Trump selected Ajit Pai, a Republican advocate against net neutrality, to become the new director of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). 44-year-old Pai would be replacing Democrat Tom Wheeler, allowing the GOP to hold the majority of the FCC.

When confronting recent regulations imposed by Democrats, Pai earned public recognition by suggesting that the new administration should work in cutting all the restrictions that drag down the country’s online venture.

44-year-old Pai would be replacing Democrat Tom Wheeler. Photo credit: The Wall Street Journal
44-year-old Pai would be replacing Democrat Tom Wheeler. Photo credit: The Wall Street Journal

“We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation and job creation,” Ajit Pai stated in a speech several weeks ago.

A new era of the internet is coming

Pai is a telecommunications lawyer who has been a part of the FCC since May of 2012, known for his extensive use of social media and widespread effort to have the FCC release their proposals before they are voted.

He worked as a Verizon associate from 2001 to 2003 and later worked as a staffer at the DOJ, Senate, and the FCC.

Faced with a Democratic majority in the FCC, Pai is a strong supporter of the thesis that large enterprises directing the internet access and how consumers use it does not represent a problem, something that is now known as the net neutrality debate.

“We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas,” wrote ex-President Barack Obama concerning the debate.

New York Times writer Neil Irwin suggests that the discussion can be understood by looking at how other utilities that Americans enjoy on a daily basis are regulated. For example, electrical utilities have the power generated in a plant, flowing through a network of lines so the consumer can use it as he or she pleases. The use is measured in kilowatt per hour, but the company has no saying in what the electricity is used for, whether it is for profit or for reading a book.

On the other hand, there’s cable television. These companies offer different packages, and they have arrangements with the networks that they carry on each plan.

Regarding net neutrality, the FCC and Obama came to the agreement that companies should not have a say in how consumers use the internet.  However, Opponents to net neutrality such as Ajit Pai argue that the internet will be a much more complete and lucrative experience if providers could negotiate with web services, such as Netflix, to have better deals in how consumers use their bandwidth.

In Pai’s proposed scenario, the internet provider would have a much larger role in the availability of the service as such. Backers of net neutrality fear that internet providers could get to the point of restricting certain websites if they “do not carry it,” such as some cable packages do not offer a particular channel. So far, the internet has remained greatly unsupervised. Under the Trump administration, this is bound to change radically.

Source: LA Times